As a terminal degree, the MPA develops practical skills in an applied setting, as well as in the classroom. The experiential learning courses offer students the opportunity to further develop their competencies in a professional setting. The content of these courses is unique to each student and specially designed around the student's needs and interests.
PADM 6890 - MPA Internship is a required elective for all students who have less than one year of full-time experience in a public or nonprofit organization (pre-service). Responsibility for seeking an internship falls upon the student. However, the Director and MPA faculty regularly facilitate internship opportunities and internship announcements are often sent to all current MPA students. Students with more than one year experience can request a waiver of the internship and substitute the 3 credit hours with another elective. Students must submit a written request for a waiver of the internship required.
All students must complete PADM 6950 - Professional Project or PADM 6900 - MPA Thesis to earn the MPA degree. The professional project offers students a unique opportunity to create a specialized learning environment in which to develop and apply competencies in a realistic setting. Under the supervision of an MPA faculty member, students partner with a host organization to develop and complete a project. Projects help students develop specific competencies in a safe, practical setting.
The thesis option creates a mentoring relationship between the student and MPA faculty for those students who anticipate pursuit of a doctoral program. If students elect a thesis option, the supervising faculty serves as a thesis committee chair, along with another MPA faculty and one committee member from outside the MPA.